Believe it or not, I am gradually changing some of my convictions about the world of high school football recruiting. For so long, graduating early from high school just to play college football was a "no-no" for me. Since each case is different, I have come to realize that some prospects simply need a change of envoirnment. This was no more evident than this past spring. As I watched both Michigan and Ohio State practice, leaving early is good for some college football prospects.
Last week I was guest at a University of Michigan's spring practice. Although practices are closed, there is a little more freedom at Michigan. After practice, I spoke briefly with Ohio guys- Joe Bolden, Tom Strobel, AJ Williams, and Chris Wormley, among others. But I also wanted to see the guys who were graduated last winter.
Spent most of my time watching players from Ohio who were graduated this past winter and left for Michigan. DB Dymonte Thomas (Marlington) is playing nickel-back with first and second units. Improved overall quickness and speed. Got in alot of reps. DE Taco Charlton (Pickerington Central) has added twenty pounds. His motor ran all of the time in this practice. Heard that he had two sacks in the spring game. DB Ross Douglas (Avon) has slimmed down and is getting faster. Played CB. Needs to get much better, but enrolling early has really helped him. Although he has round shoulders(humor), Jake Butt really looked good at TE. Just so athletic with excellent hands.
At my two chances to watch Ohio State practice, I was really impressed with Cameron Burrows, Tracey Sprinkle, and William Huston. All three were graduated this past winter and enrolled at O-State for spring quarter.
Cameron Burrows (Trotwood Madison) has worked hard from day one. Impressed coaches with his work ethic both in conditioning and on the field. He pleasantly surprised me. DE Tracey Sprinkle (Elyria) has added twenty pounds of good weight. Productive and has really improved his balance. Possibly the biggest surprise has been the development of preferred walk-on, FB William Huston(Dublin Scioto). Secondhand information, but heard he was taking some snaps with the first unit. A true fullback, the the Buckeyes are really excited about what he has done.
Encouraging seniors to graduate early, I always thought was just another way for the colleges to "fatten" themselves, with little regards to the high school athlete. Instead of going to the prom, playing a spring sport, or just hangin with parents, players who are graduated early, practice with the "big boys." Of course, they also get an early start on classes. Really beneficial.
Like everything else- for different reasons, some college prospects need to leave early, some do not. Each case is different. Discouraging a high school student (boy/girl) of taking a chance to better his or herself, would be tough for me. Of course, if a football prospect leaves early and really works hard, maybe a three year stay at the college level would be good enough. Oh my! that would be a whole different story.